Questions tagged [writing-style]

Questions about the writing style of a particular sentence, phrase or construction in English. Questions asking for advice on writing style are off-topic.

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13 views

Does joining two independent explanatory clauses with only a comma necessarily produce a comma splice?

Recently, I wrote a sentence of the following form: Yes, you can do that, you just need to press that red button. A reader took issue with this sentence, as he believed it was an ungrammatical comma ...
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Is it better to write a story in past or present tense? Can you use both? [closed]

I do not want to confuse the reader. It is a fictional short story.
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Is repeating the section title in the first sentence good writing style? [closed]

In a number of structure formats I am very tempted to re-state the title of sections in the first section, i.e. if the given section is “Expected Results”, I tend to want to start by saying “The ...
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52 views

Is there a name for the literary device of having multiple speakers alternating in the same paragraph?

In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C. S. Lewis has: . . . Lucy could only say, "It would break your heart." "Why," said I, "was it so sad?" "Sad!! No," said ...
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3answers
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When speaking of an archetypical kind of person, should plurals use “s” or “ 's ”?

What's the best way (for reader experience) to achieve the following? Let's say I am defining some kind of archetype, based on Eduardo Saverin (Facebook cofounder) ,and I call it an "Eduardo"...
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23 views

Tease or tease with? [migrated]

I wanted to know which phrase would be grammatically correct? Should I use; I was teasing you. OR I was teasing with you.
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30 views

Is it correct to replace dashes with hyphens and how should it be done?

I often see sentences like this--made when people don't have the care or ability to input the correct character--where two hyphens are supposed to form an em-dash. Based on the sizes of various dashes,...
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117 views

Term for intentional inaccuracies that better convey meaning?

Is there a term or concept that describes instances where an author/speaker intentionally or knowingly uses wrong spelling/pronunciation/grammar because it better conveys the intended meaning, and is ...
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1answer
62 views

About Lovecraft's style to start a sentence with 'For' [duplicate]

I'm reading my first ever novel in English (French is my mother tongue): Tales of Horror by H.P Lovecraft. Surprisingly, reading this book is fine for me, however there's a sentence construction I don'...
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12 views

Differences in word order?

The independent clause, “He is carrying a heavy load”, might be connected with a dependent clause of varying order: most of which is to be consumed. which most of, is to be consumed. of which, most ...
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Is it grammatical to write a complete sentence and link it to a sentence with a dropped subject with a semicolon? Please check the examples. Thanks!

I called to check in; hope all is well. I have some great news; just wanted you to be the first to hear it. Call me back!
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Non-standard English to Standard English, in Milne's Ugly Duckling

The following is from Ugly Duckling written (a play, 1941) by A. A. Milne. I cannot understand Dulcibella's speech which seems to me non-standard. In this play Dulcibella is depicted as a very ...
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usage of as and have

When I was reading a novel by Steinbeck, I have met the sentence below: "He stalked her then, game-wise, as he had the woodchucks on the knoll when day after day he had lain lifeless as a young ...
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Is defining the first use of an acronym within parenthesis allowed?

I don't see a rule against it, but defining an acronym within parenthesis does not seem correct (e.g., Awkward Definition of Acronym (ADA)). Does defining ADA like this break rules?
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Can I omit “which”+verb in a non-defining relative clause?

Which sentence below sounds better? Is there an incorrect/correct one? Is there a difference in meaning? I tend to like the second one the most. To me, it has the same meaning as the first one but bit ...
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2answers
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Describing disdain on someones face

I have tried to create a description of a face that shows a condescending feeling towards the person they are looking at also hinting to a past of abuse due to power dynamics. I haven't done much of ...
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1answer
117 views

Why did Thomas Paine use both “hath” and “has” in the same sentence?

My understanding is that "hath" is archaic, but has exactly the same meaning as "has". But then why would an educated writer use both in the same sentence when writing a formal ...
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1answer
69 views

Which is better here, colon or dash?

Their style favors texture and timbre over more familiar and comforting musical elements; there is no beat, melody, or rhythm – only techno-cacophony. Can I switch the dash for a colon, like this? ...
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Can you tell me about the style of writing used in the Federalist Papers?

I've always found the Federalist Papers extremely hard to read. They have many complex words, long sentences, subordinate clauses, and large paragraphs. Here are two examples of sentences to frame ...
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26 views

Possessive determiner followed by a stand-alone adjective?

My grammar lecturer told us that "I thought her selfish." is correct and it is used like the sentence "I thought she was selfish." He said native English speakers use this ...
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2answers
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“As they are referred” vs. “As they appear” when we discuss terms and their definitions

I have a technical document that starts with an introduction section describing the key terms that are used in the document. What is the proper way to name this section? Path component names as they ...
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To make an attempt vs. to attempt

As far as I understand, to make an attempt and to attempt mean the same thing, but I'm pretty sure there's still a difference between them that I don't know. Does make an attempt put more emphasis on ...
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1answer
46 views

Writing style guidelines on gerund (ab)use

In novel writing, there is general advice not to use gerunds (i.e. verb forms ending with -ing). In general, that makes sense. "She was going to the store" -> "She went to the store&...
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Which is the proper way to use (and mark) nested parentheses?

I found some posts on whether it is acceptable to nest parentheses (e.g. here) but there is no discussion yet about which parentheses should be used when nesting, and how. These are some alternative ...
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Are there guidelines for mid-sentence code blocks and bulleted lists

Question Are there guidelines for the placement of nonstandard typography in the middle of a sentence? I'm working on a blog that will have multiple authors. Should we bother with style consistency ...
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Is “Black” correct, incorrect, or could it be used as either “Black” or “black”? [duplicate]

I was reading an article that I was assigned by my professor, and I came across the following: “We’re the ones getting killed,” Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who is Black, said in an ...
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Why use “he include”? [duplicate]

To expect Daub to acknowledge critiques of tech thinking by women is to expect that he include not the most feminist or woke critiques of those philosophies, but the most trenchant ones. Why he ...
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91 views

Chanterelle and Chantrelle, which is the correct name of the mushroom?

I always spell it as chanterelle until I bought a box of CHANTRELLE in Whole Foods Market. I looked up my dictionary, and yes, the word should be chanterelle. However, I also noticed that, the word ...
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Using single quotation marks for shorter quotes, and double quotation marks for longer ones?

Background This website has had a fair share of questions on the use of single versus double quotation marks. The most popular question on this topic is a good resource on their use in American and ...
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If I'd like to indicate a duration of more than x years, can I write it as “+x years”?

For instance, can I say "we provided +10 hours of programming services"?
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To keep or not to keep THAT is the question

Is it discretionary to drop "that" from the sentence below (and similar sentences)? The movie's script was so bad it blew. Or am I flouting some rule of grammar here? Thank you!
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2answers
116 views

Can we use a semicolon before “to”-infinitives?

I just read a sentence that goes like this: I have woven the grief of your departure into amulets; to wear around my neck, until they dissolve into my skin. So far I have learnt that semicolons can ...
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1answer
31 views

Can I say “how eager” and “awaits me”?

The fish used to bawl when I left, and the chicken would tell me how eager the fish awaited me. Disregard the chickens and fish, I just needed something tangible. ABC is sad when I go; XYZ tells me ...
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A word that's between 'recommended' and 'awarded'?

Is there a word that is between 'recommended' and 'awarded', take for example: The boss recommended the Prize to Jill. and The boss awarded the Prize to Jill. I don't want it to be emphasized that the ...
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Part of the word in parenthesis

I am looking at different movie titles that put part of a word in parenthesis: (Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies (In)Visible Portraits ->Visible Portraits (Mis) Treating Prisoners: Health Care ...
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1answer
60 views

Spell out numbers or use numerals when in a list?

So we often get the general advice that we should spell out small numbers and use numerals for large numbers. However, what if you are referring to a list of a few numbers, some large and some small. ...
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2answers
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Alternative ways to express “Examples of Something” [closed]

I am conceiving the title of a web page where a number of examples will be listed. I can use the page title "Examples of Something" e.g. "Examples of Cars", "Examples of Jobs&...
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1answer
326 views

Formal title/honorific for a lawyer

Let's say there is a lawyer named Sue Smith. She could be referred to as Ms. Smith, but is there a different formal prepended honorific specific to lawyers? Particularly when addressing one directly.
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63 views

It should be used **with** in this paragraph?

Should be used with in this paragraph to indicate the contribution that she could do by studying a specific master's program? Using water is necessary but it needs to be done carefully to avoid ...
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1answer
32 views

Is 'excelled' appropriate here?

I am wondering whether excelled was correctly used or not in this paragraph?. I do not want to use outstanding. Despite she is from a vulnerable region in the countryside with low educational ...
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1answer
44 views

“In cases where” vs. “If”

Garner's Modern English Usage (2016), p. 147: H.W. Fowler wrote of case: "There is perhaps no single word so freely resorted to as a trouble-saver, and consequently responsible for so much ...
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“Meaning” or “Meaning that” - are both appropriate?

What is the correct way to use "meaning that", i.e. which (or both?) are appropriate: We're in the Brand Registry, meaning that our products are uniquely protected... We're in the Brand ...
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7answers
414 views

Where does “Whatcha” & “Didja” come from?

Does anyone know where "Whatcha" and/or "Didja" originate from? Watcha: What did you? Didja: Did you? Edit: I cannot find these words in my English Grammar books and they are ...
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1answer
35 views

Can we use “Not only, but too” instead of "Not only, but also,?

I am wondering about the use of "Not only, but too" instead of "Not only, but also.? For example: The candidates campaigned not only in Perth but in Darwin too. and is it formal to ...
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1answer
41 views

It has been used correctly this phrase in this paragraph?

I am wondering whether the following paragraph is clear. I am particularly concerned about the last phrase (emphasized). Joined work with local authorities to find alternatives to confront climatic ...
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12 views

Is there any alternative for “You're welcome” in actual talks? [duplicate]

I've heard that it's quite awkward to say "You're welcome" in actual talks. Is there any alternative for this sentence?
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191 views

Does the Oxford comma apply to ampersands?

I came across this text on a shoe description: Durable but light, & flexible enough to move with the foot. I am well aware of the Oxford Comma, so the text would use durable but light, and ...
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174 views

Does “8am” mean 𝒆𝒙𝒂𝒄𝒕𝒍𝒚 08:00:00.000 in the morning, or does it just mean any time closer to that hour than to either 7:00 or to 9:00? [closed]

Suppose I wanted to indicate the range of time from exactly 8:00am to exactly 8:30am. Should I write “8:00am” for explicitness, or is exactly 8:00am implied by “8am”? Also, is “2:15pm–2:45pm”, for ...
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3answers
40 views

Writing a comparative sentence with two comparative parameters [closed]

Consider two aqueous solutions: Solution 1 Solution 2 Then note that: The temperature of the solution 1 is higher than that of the solution 2. The pressure of the solution 1 is lower than that of ...
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1answer
55 views

What is the place of “say” between 2 direct speeches [duplicate]

I read a book, and I see that: "Oh - the black hat," I say. "No!" says Shami. "The blue hat is nicer." We watch and wait. In the end, the woman takes the blue hat. "...

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